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The Magic Flute

In an effort to freshen up the usual suspects for the holiday, the Young Vic has taken the inspired step of inviting Isango/Portobello, a South African company, to perform its adaptations of Dicken's A Christmas Carol and Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Mhlekazi Andy Mosiea as Prince Tamino
Mhlekazi Andy Mosiea as Prince Tamino
Photo: Keith Pattison
Seeing The Magic Flute through fresh eyes as a rite-of-passage for young Xhosa tribesmen, rather than as a Masonic ritual as originally designed, not only confirms the universality of Mozart's work, but invigorates the power of the myth.

With thirty singers, marimbas, drums, and township percussion setting the tone, Tamino's courage and faith are put to the test, as Pamina's love hangs in the balance. Mhlekazi Andy Mosiea, as Tamino, captures the budding confidence of a young warrior strengthened by each victory.

Philisa Sibeko (center) as Princess Pamina, with (left to right) Busisiwe Ngejane, Poseletso Sejosingoe, Noluthando Boqwana as the three Spirits
Philisa Sibeko (center) as Princess Pamina,
with (left to right) Busisiwe Ngejane,
Poseletso Sejosingoe, and
Noluthando Boqwana as the three Spirits
Photo: Keith Pattison
Philisa Sibeko, as Pamino, undergoes a parallel struggle, finding herself and a higher form of love in the process. Mosiea and Sibeko add a soulful aspect to Tamino and Pamino's traditional relationship, which ties their marriage to the tribe's ongoing success.

Pauline Malefane as Queen of the Night
Pauline Malefane as Queen of the Night
Photo: Keith Pattison



Pauline Malefane amazes as the Queen of the Night, from her sublime high F's to her mythic malevolence, underscoring the magnitude of Tamino and Pamino's feat in achieving initiation.

Director Mark Dornford-May's light touch taps into Mozart's abundant comedic opportunities, providing a variety of savory delights, including three angels who incarnate as the Supremes and the Chiffons, a spicy samba, and a splashy disco scene.

Company of The Magic Flute
Company of The Magic Flute
Photo: Keith Pattison
Additional hilarity is provided by the antics Zamile Gantana as Papagena, whose sterling rendition of "Papageno! Papagena!" with Thozamo Mdliva provides the icing on the cake.

The Young Vic's presentation of Isango/Portobello's The Magic Flute runs through January 19, 2008. 011 44 020 7922 2922.

Bob Bows

 

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